Top 10 Reasons Contracts get Returned/Delayed During the Signature Process
- Other party's signature is xerox or fax, not original. (Original signatures comply with rules of evidence generally employed in legal proceedings.)
- Exhibits or attachments referenced in the agreement are not attached.
- You are using a University standard form, and the other party has not yet signed. (Generally, we suggest the other party sign first when using standard University form, to ensure that they have an opportunity to review/request modifications prior to signature by the University, if needed.)
- Needed information is missing or inconsistent within the document (ie, numbers don't add, etc.). A contract should contain sufficient information so that a person not directly involved with the transaction could understand the general nature of the agreement and the respective obligations of the parties. Common sense is a handy tool for meeting this test. Basically, does your document describe who, what, where, when & why?
- Further approval is needed from your School/College or Division. (If you are unsure of your own internal approval processes, please check with your division fiscal officer. They know everything!)
- Services are to be rendered by an individual, and there is not sufficient documentation to ensure we are complying with IRS regulations regarding payments to individuals as an independent contractor v. paying them through payroll as a part-time or temporary employee and withholding taxes. A checklist has been developed to assist departments in this determination. Blank copies are available from Business Services, 311 Jesse Hall, 882-7255.
- Services are to be rendered by a University employee who meets the independent contractor test (see 6. above), but must still comply with the University's Potential Conflict of Interest Policy. (See MU Business Policy & Procedure Manual Sections 1:140 and 1:141.)
- The agreement involves intellectual property issues which have not been addressed in the agreement. Federal law is very precise regarding what language must be included in a writing to retain intellectual property rights. Typical examples of projects which involve intellectual property rights include development of literary or educational materials, musical, dramatic or choreographic works, pictures, paintings, graphic or sculptural works, videos, motion pictures or other audiovisual works, sound recordings, computer programs, and logos. Failure to address intellectual property rights can severely limit your rights to use materials developed under contract. (See MU Business Policy & Procedure Manual Sections 1:050 and 1:051.)
- The transaction is more properly handled through another University department with contracting authority. Grant funded activities are handled through the Office of Sponsored Programs, 305 Jesse Hall. In addition, there are some services routinely available in the marketplace which are more properly handled through Procurement. (An example of this is software license and maintenance agreements, which are generally handled through Procurement.) If you are unsure which office should be involved in a transaction, do not hesitate to contact any one of us for guidance.
- The other party is another University department, eliminating the need for formal signature on behalf of the University. (Sister departments within the University do not have separate legal status; we are all members of one legal entity, a public corporation created under Missouri law. The legal name of the corporation which is the University is actually "THE CURATORS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI.")
Our mission in Business Services to "Help Get the Job Done Right." If you have any questions or problems regarding the contract process, please do not hesitate to contact us at 311 Jesse Hall or call 882-7255. We are also very happy to develop and provide customized training and/or information to departments at their request.